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8th August 2017: The New Theatre Development

For what it's worth here is my tuppence worth as an interested observer on the proposed theatre development. I'm not sure cultural change has been part of the debate so far.

The new theatre will fundamentally change the offering from the Assembly Hall, this could be seen as a good thing by some!

With 45% of shows planned to be musical theatre (I estimate that's 15-20 weeks worth) and as musical theatre is a fairly specialised (and relatively expensive) interest the target audience will change from mainly resident to mainly visitor.

This means many of the current shows will be pushed (and possibly priced) out of the schedule, again this might be considered a good thing but it could fundamentally change the cultural offering to town and borough residents.

We have Trinity, of course, but it does leave an uncomfortable gap between shows suited to an audience of 300 and shows suited to an audience of 1200.

If you want to work out what might change here is a the full list of Assembly Hall events for 2017: tunbridgewellsevents.co.uk/fullyear.

If this was the first step in a planned change from 'commuter town' to 'destination town' with corresponding improvement to infrastructure (e.g. hotel rooms) and facilities it could make sense. I see no evidence of a plan, just piecemeal development. On the whole I would welcome a new theatre, I would even give up some of the park for a new theatre if I was convinced it was the right solution.

 

 

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